Report on the second planning meeting, 1973

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8 AUGUST 1973

Present: Electa Arenal, Annette Baxter, Louise Bernikow, Hester Eisenstein, Jane Gould, Barbara Hertz, Batya Hyman, Darline Levy, Jean Miller, Harriette Mogul, Sue Sacks, Ann Sheffield, Suzanne Wemple, Mary Wexford.

Jane Gould opened the meeting by summarizing the following suggestions and comments received by the Center since the last meeting:

--Cynthia Lloyd felt that since many people did not know enough about disciplines other than their own to begin doing really scholarly interdisciplinary work on women, the most useful thing for a first conference would be to present the latest theoret- ical work in women's studiesin each field.

-—Darline Levy suggested a format in which papers on a specified topic and from several different points of view would be delivered in morning sessions. A keynote luncheon speaker would then pro- vide a philosophical and theoretical perspective for the after- noon sessions which would be devoted to a discussion of the interdisciplinary approaches used in the morning.

-—Hester Eisenstein cautioned against antagonizing women in the movement by seeming to seek male academic legitimacy for women's studies and raised questions about a traditional academic conference.

--Catharine Stimpson suggested that we contact Sheila Tobias at Wesleyan for more information on the conference they are planning and exchange information about ours. Louise Bernikow agreed to do this. '

Once again a good deal of time was spent on questions of focus, who the conference was for, and how it would be different from other women's conferences. Some concern was expressed about having just another elitist conference as Radcliffe had or of simply having the same superstars repeat what they have been saying all along. Questions were also raised about how the conference would relate to the women's movement and who would be invited to participate. A few people voiced the opinion that an academic conference would not be of interest to students, especially if it was planned as "just another academic conference with formal papers.”

After considerable discussion it was agreed to hold a small "working seminar” for scholars (which could include students and graduate students); all those who attend will be working participants. Papers will be invited on a number of themes, including: family, economic condition and roles, theories of feminism, religion, androgyny, creativity, women as political activists, women as criminal deviants, politics of medicine. Scholars will be asked to prepare their papers with the following theoretical

questions in mind: what have been the effects of women's studies on the various disciplines? on teaching? on research? what is the relationship

of women's studies to feminism? what are the defining parameters of women's studies as a discipline? to what extent has women's studies become interdisciplinary?

The consensus of the meeting was that the conference should consist of a number of panels, each with several papers given in the morning ses- sion. Papers will cover actual research on substantive topics prepared within the framework of the theoretical and philosophical questions. These questions will provide the focus for the afternoon workshop discussions. A luncheon speaker will be scheduled if some of the material submitted seems appropriate for this use. The day will end with a cocktail party.

Each panel/workshop will have approximately fifteen participants in addition to the panelists. This size will allow for serious and produc- tive work in both morning and afternoon sessions and is within Barnard's capacity to accommodate well. Collective or collaborative papers will be encouraged and arrangements will be made to send papers to registrants prior to the conference. The emphasis will be on finding participants (who may or may not be well known) who are not only doing important re- search on women but have also been giving these broader questions a good deal of thought.

For the time being Sue Sacks, Darline Levy, Batya Hyman, and Jean Miller agreed to work on a sub-committee. At the next meeting scheduled for noon, Wednesday, September 5th at the Center, a sub-committee will be formalized to work through the year. Anyone who is interested in working on this committee should contact the Center.